If you live in a hurricane prone area, every May and June, you are urged to prep for the upcoming Hurricane Season. I’d like to share with you my top ____ must haves for Hurricane Prep.

I’ve been through 4 very rough hurricanes. Three of which occurred one after another in 2004 (Charley, Frances, and Jean). This past hurricane season, we were “visited” by Irma.

I’ve been joking for years that I’m a would-be doomsday prepper, but Irma hitting Florida was a wake up call for me. We were very blessed with the minimal damage our property received, but I had a completely different experience with this hurricane vs. the three in 2004.

In 2004, I was a Junior in high school. My dad had purchased a generator 3 months prior to the hurricanes hitting for a job site that didn’t have power. We were connected to City Water. My cell phone service provider was Nextel, which all the Emergency Response crews had. So we had the ability to plug in the microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, and charge our phones. We still had running water. And because my cell service was the one all the Emergency Response crews were using, I never lost cell service.

September 2017, my husband and I own our own home. We hadn’t purchased a generator yet. We have a well, that requires power to run. My cell service provider now is AT&T…things went quite differently for me this time. I can deal with no A.C. a lot better than some people. I was more worried about my fridge and chest freezer. I could walk down to my in-laws to charge my cell phone. Not having running water did suck. We do have a pool, so I could use pool water to flush the toilets. Also we could use the pool to rinse in and take “Florida baths.” Not being able to call or text my mom to tell her I was okay was probably the most difficult part of the whole experience for me.

Anyways, spending the day after Irma had done her damage, cleaning up and figuring out the next step, was eye-opening and I started making a mental list of stuff to help prepare for the next hurricane season.

1. Candles/Lanterns/Flashlights

We were without power for only 28 hours, not too bad really, but once the sun goes down, the house gets very dark. I seriously thought I had more candles than I had. NOPE! Flashlights are great, but candles are also acceptable. Especially those tall, 8 inch, sanctuary candles from the Dollar Tree that burn for 80 hours. *DO NOT LEAVE BURNING CANDLES UNATTENDED*

2. Easy snacks, food, and bottled water.

My husband and I joke about how peanut butter and Chef Boyardee always go on sale at the beginning of hurricane season, but they are great things to have in the pantry if the power goes out. Peanut butter can be eaten straight from the jar. Chef Boyardee can be eaten cold or warmed on the grill. Another staple would be Pop-Tarts. Empty calories and comfort food. We didn’t lose anything in our freezers (very well insulated), but not really thinking ahead was a mistake. Bottled water is an obvious need, especially if you live on a well and the pump doesn’t work without power (and you have no hand pump) or if city water goes on a boil water notice.

Yes, we had fresh veges and fruit, and bread and peanut butter, BUT it’s not the same as having Little Debbie ® snack cakes and potato chips…Calories don’t count during crisis mode, right?

3. Generator and several full gas cans

Find some money in the budget and buy the damn generator. It’ll save you having to throw out ruined food and you can plug a fan in to stand in front of. Some insurance companies will reimburse for lost food if the power’s out for long enough. I don’t want to contemplate having to deal with that. I’d rather be proactive and try not to lose food.

4. Battery-powered or crank radio

In talking to a friend of mine, who is in no way a prepper, but she likes being prepared, she mentioned purchasing a hand-crank radio was going into the budget for next hurricane season. (We’d gone through Irma together.) And she’s right.

5. Mindset

Mindset is more important than you think it is. You can be physically prepared (gas, generator, bottled water, candles, flashlights, etc.), but if you’re not mentally prepared nothing will calm your nerves.

I’ve been through 4 hurricanes in my life. Three of them were back to back in 2004 (Charlie, Frances, and Jean), and then Irma in 2017. And let me tell you, they were completely different experiences. Re-read the beginning of this post if you’ve forgotten.

6. Books, board games, decks of cards

You’re going to need something to keep yourself entertained if the power goes out. We’re so addicted to our smartphones, that we risk running the battery down on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. without a way to charge our phones. Also if the power’s out, so is the wifi, genius.

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One quarter of the year is over! I got a lot accomplished in the last three months, and I’m hoping to get more done this quarter.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsnNPFnRp2Y%5B/embedyt%5D

Goal Setting YouTube Playlist

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Knitting All the Blankets YT: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbwh5oIhRXL83y___mL2gSQ

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I decided to film a short Plant Roll Call video and show off all my edible plants! I’m very proud of these plants and that I’ve been able to keep them alive and produce food from them!

Husband and I consider ourselves Urban Homesteaders, even thought we don’t have acreage or a farm or animals. We’re also in the early stages of this journey and hope to add more garden space and edible plants over the next couple of years.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtuqFA0PO2U%5B/embedyt%5D

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CBC Products ETSY shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CBCproducts

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Last week, I shared some of the fun I’d been having with my Nesco Food Dehydrator. I’ve been inspired by one of the Dehydrating Facebook groups I’m in.

A lady, in the Dehydrating for Rebels, dehydrated mushrooms, onions, and green peppers. She turned them into a fine powder using a coffee grinder. I thought that was brilliant!

In my previous post, I showed the mushrooms we dehydrated. We don’t have a coffee grinder at the moment, so we tried using our Ninja Express Chop to pulverize them….It didn’t work out so well. The mushrooms are now finely chopped, which worked out great when I made a large pot of Chicken Noodle Soup.

Anyways! I said I was inspired. Here are some of the mix ideas I’m thinking about putting together in the future:

Holy Trinity:

onions, celery, and bell peppers.

Mire Poix:

onions, carrots, and celery.

Flour-Alternative for Gravy:

white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips.

Soffrito:

onion, parsley, garlic, celery, and carrots.

And if all else fails, and I don’t create a single jar for each mix, I do individual jars of each component and make 1:1:1 ratios as needed.

When I made my chicken noodle soup, having powdered celery would have been helpful. If you have any other combinations, please leave them in the comments below. 

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For Christmas, my in-laws bought me a Nesco Food Dehydrator. It comes with 6 trays, 2 herb sheets, and two fruit leather trays. I did order 4 more herb sheets off Amazon. 

I LOVE this thing! So far I’ve dehydrated mushrooms (button and baby bella) and herbs. In the hopes that if I pulverized them and turned them into powder, we could add the power to various recipes. I like mushroom flavor, HATE the texture.

Here’s what they look like dehydrated. As of today, I haven’t pulverized them, and they are separated not mixed. In my opinion, the button mushrooms have a stronger aroma than the baby bellas.

I wanted a dehydrator mainly for my herb garden. My basil, mint, and rosemary are plentiful. My Greek oregano is brand new, so it has some growing to do. I also have citrus trees in my backyard, so I’m looking forward to making my own fruit snacks.

So far, other than mushrooms, I’ve only dehydrated some basil and mint. I swear I pruned my basil plant (since I filled 9 trays with it) but it does not look like it.

Have any of you used a food dehydrator before? What do you like to make with yours?

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Post-Hurricane Irma: The danger has passed and power has been restored. It’s been 13 years since I’ve gone through a hurricane. Wasn’t a fan then, and not a fan now.

Here’s how we fared during Hurricane Irma:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3OSDc1lSYY%5B/embedyt%5D

Wire Mesh mentioned in video: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Blue-Hawk-Actual-50-ft-x-3-ft-Rolled-Wire-Galvanized-Steel-Welded-Wire-Rolled-Fencing/4780627 

 

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Going off directions from another blogger, my husband and I attempted to freeze raw potatoes. Here are the results of our Frozen Potato Experiment.

Our potatoes were un-pealed and shredded hash brown style, instead of cubed. Now we didn’t freeze completely raw potatoes, they were par boiled. Once they were par boiled, we spread them out on cookie sheets and freeze them, per the directions.

We love making breakfast scrambles, and thought this would be a frugal way to get potatoes for breakfast. That may sound silly, but we don’t buy potatoes often because we don’t eat them very often. Hence wanting to stock up and have them on hand in the freezer.

We treated a bag the same way we would a bag of the Simply Potatoes ® brand. We dumped them into a frying pan to make breakfast potatoes.

They turned into fried mashed potatoes!!!

At first, my husband was disappointed (actually, more than disappointed, there was swearing), but then I pointed out that we had mashed potatoes!!! We love mashed potatoes, but again, we don’t buy potatoes too often. I’m very happy that I have frozen potatoes that will turn into mashed potatoes whenever I want mashed potatoes.

There are some readers who will question why I just don’t go buy a few fresh potatoes for mashed potatoes. I like convenience foods. I really do. Keeping fresh potatoes around doesn’t work for my household. They usually go bad before they’re all used, especially if I get a bag of potatoes. And buying the smaller packs of baking potatoes isn’t fiscally smart in my opinion. At least in my local grocery stores, 2-4 large baking potatoes is the equivalent cost of a 10 lb. bag of potatoes.

Here’s a picture of the remaining three bags in my freezer:

frozen-potato-lesson

© Cori Large 21 August 2016

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